“A coach is someone who carries a valued person from where they are to where they want to be.”
Have a Plan for Everything
Always plan with the ending in mind. Nothing should be left to chance. Strength training should be planned and progressed year-round. Conditioning should be planned out. Recovery protocols should be in place. None of this is difficult but it takes a little bit of time from you as a coach on the front end to ensure that your athletes are where you want them to be when it matters.
“Why are our athletes are so healthy. Our athletes are so healthy because we plan for them to be healthy. We don’t do dumb, random shit. Nothing is ever done by chance.” – Mike Boyle
Be A Student of People
At the end of the day, being a coach of any kind is a people business, a relationship business. If you want to be successful you need to understand what makes people tick and also realize that everyone is different. The same philosophy on motivating one person won’t necessarily work with another person. Some people will open up to you right away, other people will take a long time. No matter what type of personalities you are dealing with, you need to understand how to tap into them and get the most out of them. If you improve your ability to understand and deal with people, your success as a coach will instantly increase. Get to know the person so you can coach the athlete.
And if you haven’t read it yet, Dale Carnige’s How To Win Friends and Influence People is a must read.
Being consistent as a coach may be one of the most important qualities you exhibit on a daily basis. You can’t be a hard ass one day and then a cuddly bear the next day. You can’t have high expectations one day then let things slide the next day. Be the same person day in and day out. For better or worse, athletes need to know who they are dealing with on a daily basis. And for the record, I’d recommend you consistently be someone that athletes enjoy being around. If they want to be around you’ll get buy-in, which will lead to the results you are after.
Show People You Care
It’s a quote that everyone has probably heard at one time or another, “People don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care.” It’s the truth. Athletes don’t follow you because you are the strength coach or the fact that you’ve been a strength coach for many years. Athletes follow the person, not the position. They need to know you care and the only way that happens if you actually care. You can’t fake it either, sooner or later they’ll figure you out.
Constantly Educate Yourself
“You can’t teach what you don’t know, you can’t guide where you don’t go.” The one constant in the profession of strength and conditioning is that things are always changing, whether we like it or not. Seemingly every single day, strength coaches and physical therapists are finding better ways to train to improve performance and/or reduce the likelihood of injury. The only way to stay on top of the ever-changing field of strength and conditioning is to continually educate yourself. Go to seminars and clinics. Read books. Listen to podcasts. Make it a priority every single day to somehow get better. Most importantly, have an open mind and be willing to change, otherwise you may find yourself behind the curve in a constantly evolving field. Be smart about it as we can never put an athlete in danger, but we as strength coaches should always be trying a lot of stuff and keeping what works.